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The closing statement of the previous chapter constitutes the introduction to this. The words, "As soon as Gideon was dead" and the declaration that then the people returned to evil courses reveal, first of all, the strength of Gideon and the fact that he had very largely exercised a benificent influence. They show, also, how practically worthless was the external obedience of the people.
Judgment this time cake from within rather than from without. Abimelech, a natural son of Gideon, a man unprincipled and brutal but of great personal force, secured to himself the allegiance of the men of Shechem and practically assumed the position of king. In order to make his position secure he brought about the massacre of all the sons of Gideon, except Jotham, who, escaping, uttered a parabolic prophecy from the height of Mount Gerizim.
This parable was full of a fine scorn for Abimelech, whom Jotham compared to the bramble. In the course of it he indicated the line along which judgment would fall on the sinning people. Abimelech would be the destruction of the men of Shechem and the men of Shechem would be the destruction of Abimelech.
The prophecy of Jotham was not to be immediately fulfilled. The fire smoldered for three years but at last manifested itself. It may well be imagined how such a man's government would be characterized by oppression and tyranny, and the seeds of discontent sown in the hearts of the oppressed people moved towards a harvest of judgment. Gaal, the son of Ebed, took advantage of this discontent to stir up the men of Shechem against Abimelech. Abimelech retaliated with drastic and brutal measures but met his death by the act of a woman who hurled a piece of upper millstone on him. Almost more terrible than the oppression of those from without was this period of judgment by means of internecine strife.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Judges 9". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany